Asperger’s syndrome is a form of autism, also known as high-functioning autism, because autistic children can have better-than-average language skills, and many children have high-functioning autism. more intelligence. This also means that Asperger’s symptoms are less severe than those of other forms of autism spectrum disorder.
What is Asperger’s syndrome?
In 1944, Hans Asperger first described Asperger’s syndrome, saying that it is a behavioral feature of people who have difficulty communicating and interacting socially. Since then, this syndrome has become one of the topics of interest and debate among experts.
Based on the DSM-5, autism spectrum disorder has many different levels, each level will be classified based on the severity of symptoms along with the level of support needed. And if what was previously defined as Asperger’s syndrome is now called an autism spectrum disorder. This disorder will include a variety of neurodevelopmental problems, manifesting in varying degrees and will often have an early onset in childhood. Autism is characterized by a decline in the ability to communicate and interact socially, along with behavioral limitations, often with meaningless repetitive behaviors.
Accordingly, because Asperger’s syndrome has a rather special history and relatively specific clinical manifestations, scientists and specialists continue to use Asperger’s syndrome as a subtype of the spectrum disorder. autism. Asperger’s syndrome is known as a psycho-neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by a decline in the ability to communicate, interact socially, and maintain moderate or moderate intelligence. is dominant, children with this syndrome will not be too retarded in language development. Based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (published 2013 – 5th edition – DSM5), this syndrome will be included in the diagnostic table of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
According to statistics, the rate of children with autism is increasing day by day and has a great impact on the health, daily life and future of children. Estimates of the increased incidence of ASD range from 0.7 to 72.6% per 10,000 children. Along with that, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also estimates that the percentage of children in the United States who are likely to have autism is 11.3 out of 1,000. Worldwide, approximately 17.6/1000 children are affected by an autism spectrum disorder.
However, the new classification of ASD in the DSM-5 also makes it difficult to track the prevalence of this dyslexia over time. Therefore, the overall prevalence of Asperger’s syndrome is not very clear. In general, the proportion of men affected is four times higher than that of women. It can happen in any country, any culture, regardless of race, religion or society.
What Causes Asperger’s Syndrome?
Technically speaking, Asperger’s syndrome is no longer considered a single diagnosis. Asperger’s is now known to be a form of a broader type of disorder, namely autism spectrum disorder. Most of the disorders in this group of mental health problems share common telltale symptoms. However, there are still many people who still use the term Asperger’s syndrome when noticing signs of abnormality in language and communication.
As shared above, Asperger’s syndrome is a form of autism spectrum disorder and many specialists refer to it as high functioning autism spectrum disorder. With this name, it also partly shows how less severe it is compared to other autism spectrum disorders. However, the cause of this syndrome has not been determined specifically and precisely. Accordingly, scientists have also shared about the relationship of genetic factors to ASD.
Based on the fact that Asperger’s syndrome has been observed and studied to be inherited, because in families with relatives with this syndrome, children will have a higher chance of having an onset than normal. often. In addition, in a few other cases, autism spectrum disorder is also associated with frequent exposure to toxic, teratogenic substances. Or it can also be affected by problems during pregnancy, childbirth, or an infection before childbirth. These environmental factors can work together to modify or increase the severity and severity of genetic defects.
A few others have also suggested an effect and causal role of exposure to vaccines in autism, such as thimerosal or measles vaccines). However, some scientists have used epidemiological evidence to refute this, finding that there is no link between autism and vaccination. Moreover, according to the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no evidence to date that Vaccination has the potential to cause autism as well as Asperger’s syndrome.
Symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome
Most children with autism have poor communication skills, are limited in their use of language and social interactions, and often have a tendency to repeat meaningless actions. However, for children with Asperger’s syndrome, intelligence is average or even superior, and language and communication skills initially develop normally. However, symptoms become more noticeable around the age of 3, when young children begin to integrate into the community and other children.
Some signs that help warn and recognize Asperger’s syndrome include:
- Difficulty using or understanding nonverbal cues, such as gestures, facial expressions, hand and foot gestures.
- Lack of rhythm, monotonous pitch, or may frequently speak or make sounds that are difficult to understand.
- Unable to understand the humor, words or teasing of others.
- Tends to avoid eye contact
- Always want to be alone, do not want to be close or socialize with anyone, from which it is difficult to develop relationships, including children of the same age.
- There is a fixation on a particular process or routine.
- Having a limited or inability to interact with people around or share feelings with them.
- Less emotional expression or inability to share interests, desires, and achievements with others.
- Finding it difficult to adapt and uncomfortable with even small changes.
- Often do not pay too much attention to the overview but often observe and enjoy the small details of things.
- There are strange movements, often repeating a certain action such as rotating fingers, clapping hands, spinning, walking on tiptoes, swinging legs.
- Have rather unusual reactions to the way things look, taste, smell, and feel around them.
- Use words that are too formal, such as no rhetoric or slang.
- Children can talk fluently but it is limited to a few topics that they are really interested in.
Complications of Asperger’s syndrome
Although the severity of Asperger’s syndrome is lower than that of other forms of autism spectrum disorders, if not detected and appropriate intervention measures are taken, there is still the potential for some dangerous complications. These complications may interfere with other functions or may arise from repetitive behaviors of children with autism.
In some cases, when suffering from Asperger’s syndrome, the patient will have a change in the level of sensory sensitivity. That is why their senses are likely to be overdeveloped or underdeveloped. This condition can negatively impact your ability to perceive light, noise, taste, ingredients, or some other material.
In addition, children with this syndrome will often have some abnormal behaviors and activities. Therefore, if this condition persists, into adulthood, the sufferer is at high risk of developing other mental health problems. Such as:
- Anxiety disorders
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Some other disorders such as Tourette’s syndrome
- Diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome
If you notice that a young child shows the warning signs mentioned above, you need to be more proactive in taking your child to be examined and diagnosed at reputable hospitals and facilities. Your pediatrician will conduct a screening and if you find any unusual symptoms, he will advise and refer you to a mental health specialist who specializes in supporting children with autism, children with autism. Asperger’s syndrome. Some specialists can help diagnose this syndrome, such as:
- Pediatric neurologist who treats diseases of the brain
- Psychologist to diagnose and correct behavioral and emotional problems.
- Pediatricians specialize in development so they can help treat children with speech, language, and other developmental problems.
- Psychiatrists specialize in mental health conditions and may combine prescriptions to manage Asperger’s symptoms.
Often, to improve Asperger’s syndrome requires a team approach, which means that the patient may have to meet with many different specialists to facilitate care and effective treatment. To correctly identify and diagnose a health condition, the doctor will conduct behavioral questions. As follows:
- What unusual symptoms do children have and when did parents notice these symptoms?
- Does the child concentrate on daily activities, on schoolwork or on any subject?
- When does a child first learn to speak and when does communication with others begin?
Does the child interact with others, does he have friends?
After obtaining the basic information, the doctor will conduct observations on different situations to be able to directly see and consider the child’s reaction. Over the years, psychiatrists’ assessment and diagnosis of autism have also changed. Until now, therapists and therapists no longer use the term Asperger’s syndrome. Instead, children with mild, less severe signs of autism like Asperger will simply be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
In order to better screen children for autism, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children between 18 and 24 months be screened and assessed for risk. In addition, parents can also ask the doctor to evaluate the possibility of having a syndrome Asperger’s syndrome in children if they have doubts and concerns about their child.
How is Asperger’s syndrome treated?
Depending on the condition and severity of each child with autism in general and Asperger’s syndrome in particular, doctors will have to consider in giving different treatment methods. Therefore, at present, there is no universal approach for all cases of autism spectrum disorder. Often, doctors need to try several therapies first to assess the response and effectiveness of the patient before recommending the final therapy.
The process of improving and overcoming the condition of children with Asperger’s syndrome will be applied the following measures:
- Social skills training: Therapists and psychologists can teach children some ways to interact socially in individual or group therapy sessions. Children will be taught how to interact with others and express themselves in a way that is appropriate in a variety of situations. Usually, the social skills of children with autism will be effectively trained and improved through modeling. Therapists will practice first, and the child will learn the normative behaviors.
- Speech therapy: This is one of the supportive therapies to improve and enhance communication skills in children with Asperger’s syndrome. For example, children will be taught how to use appropriate tone of voice when communicating, speaking normally instead of speaking in a monotonous manner, without lowering or raising the voice. In addition, young children will also learn more lessons on how to build and maintain a two-way conversation. Experts also teach children how to use and understand body language signs, such as eye contact and hand gestures.
- Cognitive and behavioral therapy (CBT): The application of this therapy will partly help children gradually change their perception and thinking. From there, children will also know how to control their behavior and emotions, avoiding the repetition of redundant actions. In addition, children also have the ability to handle symptoms such as obsessions, depressions, and outbursts.
- Training for parents: In order to help their children quickly improve their health and practice skills to integrate into life, parents themselves also need to know the basic techniques to support them. and better educate children. Through the training sessions, parents will practice more social skills and know the best way to support their children at home. In some cases, families should also meet with a counselor for additional support on how to cope with the possible challenges of living with and raising a child with Asperger’s syndrome.
- Applied behavior analysis (Applied behavior analysis): This technique is done with the aim of promoting positive and healthy social communication skills in young children.It helps to prevent and limit these behaviors. Often, the therapist will use words of encouragement, praise, or positive reinforcement to help the child improve his Asperger’s symptoms.
- Medication Use: To date, there are no FDA-approved medications for Asperger’s syndrome or other autism spectrum disorders. However, in some cases, taking medication can help children control dangerous symptoms and limit the increased risk of developing depression or anxiety disorders. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), antipsychotics or stimulant medicines (Stimulant medicines) would be considered for these situations. However, the use of the drug requires specific guidance and monitoring by a specialist to ensure safety and avoid negative effects that the drug may cause.
As soon as they realize that their children have warning signs of autism or Asperger’s syndrome, parents should quickly bring their children to visit specialized centers or reputable hospitals for support as soon as possible. . Being able to intervene early will help improve treatment outcomes, children will also have more opportunities to integrate into the community and improve necessary social skills.